Frozen blueberries are a delightful addition to yoghurts, oats, smoothies and so much more. They can also be the star ingredient of your blueberry cupcakes or delightful Sunday morning blueberry pancakes.
There are many benefits to freezing your own blueberries. The first benefit is that you can choose to freeze freshly picked berries that are in season which will retain the best flavor. The second it that it might save you significant amounts of money as berries in season tend to be much cheaper. Speaking of savings, you might be lucky enough to live in a climate where blueberries grow naturally and can go picking wild blueberries.
Whilst the antioxidant content of store-bought blueberries is incredibly high, leading to their numerous health benefits, wild blueberries boast an even better antioxidant and vitamin profile. They also pack a stronger flavor punch. Picking blueberries can be a fun day out for the whole family. If wild berries aren’t available to you, many farms will allow you to go berry picking in exchange for a fee usually per day or per hour.
By picking your local wild or farm grown berries, you are not only serving yourself but also the environment as your hand-picked berries will have a significantly lower carbon footprint. This is an incredible additional benefit. You will help the earth whether you freeze berries you’ve picked or purchased fresh at the grocery store if they are locally grown and in season. Whilst fresh berries are available in many parts of the world all year round, these are transported long distances and are very costly for the environment as well as your pockets due to the increased production costs. They will also taste less fresh having travelled a long way.
There are a number of ways to freeze your blueberries, some are slightly more time consuming than others. Your preferred method will depend on what the berries will be used for and your personal tastes.
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Should you Wash Your Blueberries Before Freezing?
Interestingly, this is a widely debated topic. We’ll discuss the benefits and disadvantages of washing your berries before freezing and allow you to make your own decision on this one.
Firstly, if you wash your berries before freezing them you will need to wait until they are completely dry before trying to freeze them. This is because water on the surface of the berries will cause them to stick together if you put them directly into a container or a Ziplock bag. It will also significantly increase the risk of freezer burn.
Secondly some connoisseurs of frozen blueberries suggest that washing the berries before freezing leads them to have tougher skins. This is not likely to be an issue if you are using them in baked goods, however, you might enjoy your berries less if you are sensitive to texture while using them as a breakfast topping for example.
Finally, if you do not wash your blueberries before freezing them, you will need to wash them before using them. Again, this might not be an important issue for you, but something to keep in mind.
Freezing Your Blueberries Methods by Time Requirement
The method you use might depend on how much time you have and the amount of blueberries needing freezing. We will break down the methods by time constraint and discuss the advantages each one below.
Fast and Furious
- Take your fresh blueberries and remove any moldy, very soft or otherwise undesirable ones.
- Put into a container of your choosing or a Ziplock bag and place in the freezer
Advantages: very fast method, required little to no effort and you have your berries saved for when you’re ready to use them
Disadvantages: higher risk that the berries will stick together and higher risk of freezer burn. You must remember to wash your berries before use
We do not recommend washing your berries first if using this method as they will be at very high risk of forming a solid lump of ice with berries that are suffering severe freezer burn. If you choose to wash them, then you must ensure that they are 100% dry.
Sweet and Slow
While this is the more time-consuming method and likely not to be for you if you have a large quantity of berries, it is also the method. As it will provide you with the best results and the most flexibility. This is provided that you are happy to wash your berries first. If you don’t want to wash your berries just follow the steps skipping steps 2-3.
- Remove any unwanted berries, twigs etc.
- Wash your blueberries carefully
- Allow to dry fully! (we cannot emphasize this enough)
- Once the berries are dry place your blueberries separated on baking paper or another nonstick surface
- Place in the freezer for 3-4 hours
- Move frozen berries to container or Ziplock bag
Advantages: you have lovely, separate berries each time with little to no freezer burn
Disadvantages: requires you to have a large enough freezer to accommodate a baking tray. The method is also more time consuming
If you place your berries in a Ziplock ensure to remove as much air as possible as this will help them stay fresh, avoid freezer burn and maximize your freezer space.
Using Your Berries
You can use the berries directly from the freezer for most applications, you can for example add them directly into baked goods and pancakes. You can also eat them as a healthy alternative to ice-cream or blend them directly into smoothies and smoothie bowls.
If you find yourself needing to defrost them, to use as a breakfast topping or because frozen berries simply don’t suit your palate then place them in the fridge overnight. This will ensure the gentlest defrosting protocol. If you are not concerned about texture you can defrost them at room temperature or in the microwave for faster results.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive article on freeing blueberries and look forward to reading your comments below.